Following on from my interview with the Finish duo, Femme En Fourrure, I’ve given their latest EP, The Beach a far more intricate listen. It is always difficult to be objective in a scenario where the artist has given specific information about a piece after it has manifested an opinion in your consciousness. Before I had even spoken, or in fact researched Femme En Fourrure for that interview, I had listened to their EP on more than one occasion. I even included two of the tracks from that EP in the fortnight fix. That initial experience is now tainted however with a number of known facts that have slightly affected the next listening exercise. For instance, it only became clear to me that there was a line-up change after researching subjects for that interview and immediately I started looking for disparities between The Beach and their previous album, 36-26-36. Luckily, as I sated in the interview, I couldn’t find many disparities but rather a natural progression from their album.
The tech elements thwarted by non-consistent beats are still the pre-dominant feature, but in what appears to be a much fuller mid range. Filled with reverbs and lethargic modulations through synthesisers. It is still music made for “DJs and catwalks”, but with a little more of a pop mentality thrown in for good measure. On title track, The Beach, synth flutes combine with glacial pads fronted by melodic vocals that draw comparisons to the Knife but never quite manifest as a carbon copy. Where artists like the Knife are further exploring elements in Techno, FEF are working in the opposite direction. Their track lengths hardly bridge 5min on this EP and the songs’ forms shy away from specific dance-floor-ready structures.
Apple of My Eye, is very similar with a more percussive presence. This time, the form of the track is in constant flux and the lead vocal soon makes way for a heavily reverberated trance-influenced synth riff, which as ever appears to be swathed in a veil of a dense synthesised atmosphere. It is this very distinct focus on fuller textures that was not as present on the album, which favoured a more minimalistic approach. That is until you get to Palms Glide up Thighs. It’s the only occurrence of the sexualised aesthetic that was so pre-dominant on the album. I must personally note that I do wish FEF would embrace this element a bit more and not try and shy away from it so much. It makes for an excellent change to see an electronic music artist sticking to a concept. Yes, it does provoke those that are un-informed, but isn’t that the point of a natural progression in music and in all fairness any other art form: to challenge individuals out of their comfort zone. Their music offers a whole package that is far more interesting than superficial associations, and Palms Glide Up Thighs is an excellent approach to both music and concept.
The EP closes with a re-work of The Beach. This time Maria Minerva fronts the track in her recognisable grain and extends it somewhat. It becomes a completely new track from the first as a result and closes the EP as it opened: On a new note that distinctly builds on the origins of Femme En Fourrure.